El Nino could be ‘worst’ ever since 1997, forecasters say

By @iamkarlatecson on
A villager looks for water as he walks on ground cracked by drought in Las Canoas Lake, some 59 km (50 miles) north of the capital. April 8,2010.The lack of rains caused by El Niño meterological Phenomena to decrease in water level of Lake Las Canoas, loc
IN PHOTO: A villager looks for water as he walks on ground cracked by drought in Las Canoas Lake, some 59 km (50 miles) north of the capital. April 8,2010.The lack of rains caused by El Niño meterological Phenomena to decrease in water level of Lake Las Canoas, located in the center of Nicaragua, affecting approximately 8 thousand peasants who live in surrounding areas.REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

The present El Nino event happening at the tropical Pacific could be the strongest since 1997, according to forecasters from the World Meteorological Organisation of the United Nations, or UN. Climate experts claim the weather phenomenon may reach its peak between October 2015 and January 2016, and effects could be experienced after several weeks.
 
Surface water temperatures, forecasters suggest, are expected to exceed two degrees Celsius than usual, which is above the threshold for an El Nino. This places this year’s event in the “very strong” category, and can potentially be among the strongest since 1950.
 
The most devastating El Nino events occurred in 1972, 1982 and 1997, and each lasted for about a year on average. Taking place periodically, between two and seven years, it happens when the wind shifts in the Pacific Ocean along the equator. An El Nino event, which typically lasts for a year, can influence heavy rain in North and South America and higher temperatures in Asia and Africa, and may cause extreme damage especially for agriculture and health.
 
This year’s El Nino is on track to rival one of the strongest weather events that took place from 1997 to 1998. During that period, countries such as the U.S. experienced some of the heaviest rainfall on record, triggering widespread flooding and landslides. The extreme weather phenomenon also resulted to deaths and millions of dollars damage. It also caused the worst coral bleaching in history, wiping out 16 percent of the world’s reefs.
 
The last El Nino event happened five years ago, which caused monsoons in Southeast Asia, droughts in the Philippines and Ecuador, blizzards in the U.S., heatwaves in Brazil and floods in Mexico. El Nino literally translates to “little one,” named after the baby Jesus by fishermen, since it seemed to peak around Christmas time.
 
While climate experts continue to monitor this year’s El Nino event, a recent study cautions that there will be even more devastating weather events in the future. The report, published in Nature Climate Change, claims that more extreme El Nino and La Nina events could be on track as a result of global warming. According to the researchers, recent studies into the El Nino/Southern Oscillation or ENSO have provided new insights into the links between changes in the weather events an the Pacific region. The authors of the report warned that there will be more ENSO-related catastrophic weather events unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut down.
 
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